Ask the Expert: How does licensing work when musicians use tablets for chord charts rather than paper versions?
A question on licensing from Alan Rolfe at Slough Baptist Church:
It’s becoming more and more common these days for musicians to use their tablets to display music, either as sheet music or lyrics with chords, instead of paper versions. However, reading the small print of our CCLI and MRL licences, they don’t seem to cover this. In your experience, how are people overcoming this? Are they just ignoring it and hoping that one day CCLI will arrive in the 21st century, or have they discovered a way of covering themselves?
Chris Williams, Customer Relations at CCLI UK replies:
Obviously if the words only include chords no additional licence is required other than the CCL as chords are note recognised as music. However, sheet music shown from any electronic storage system (PC, iPad etc) would require the additional Music Reproduction Licence (MRL) and an understanding that the digital copies being show are authorised copies…i.e. copies produced by the copyright owners or any other agency working on the owners behalf such as SongSelect.
Regarding the licences that we offer the digital rights are included within the MRL and have been for some time as there are not many photocopiers used these days that do not utilise digital technology.